ISSN : 2146-3123
E-ISSN : 2146-3131

A Novel Surgical Landmark to Identify the Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve
Yusuf Dündar1, Cynthia M. Schwartz1, Micah Lierly2, Tam Q. Nguyen1, Kerry K. Gilbert2,3, Drew H. Smith1, Nadia Tello1, Joehassin Cordero1
1Department of Otolaryngology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, USA
2Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, USA
3Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Institute of Anatomical Sciences, Lubbock, USA
DOI : 10.4274/balkanmedj.galenos.2024.2024-2-2
Pages : 280-285


Background: Although several surgical landmarks have been proposed to localize the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN), there is still no reliable landmark.
Aims: To validate the reliability of a novel reference point at the intersection of the inferior border of the cricopharyngeal muscle and the inferior cornu of thyroid cartilage for locating the RLN.
Study Design: Cadaver dissection study in the academic department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery.
Methods: Sixty-four RLNs in cadavers were assessed, and measurements of different surgical landmarks in conjunction with the proposed surgical landmark were obtained. Descriptive statistics, Pearson’s chi-squared test, and Student’s t-test were performed to analyze the data using GraphPad Prism (version 9.4.1; Dotmatics, Boston, Massachusetts, USA).
Results: The average distance from the proposed landmark to the RLN was 2.3 ± 0.85 mm. The RLN was located just posterior to the reference point in 95.31% of the cadavers. The RLN passed under the inferior constrictor muscle in 90.63% of the cadavers. There was no statistically significant difference between right- and left-sided RLNs in terms of their relation with the reference point.
Conclusion: The proposed reference point can be used as a reliable landmark to locate the RLN. This reference point may help surgeons during difficult thyroidectomy surgeries by providing an additional anatomical landmark.

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